(Release Date 23.09.16)
In melodic rock circles, the name of Goran Edman is spoken of in hushed terms as one of the genre’s top vocalists, in a long career ranging from singing with John Norum and Yngwie Malmsteen to gracing cult AOR albums from the likes of Street talk and Kharma. Now after a relatively fallow period he is back as lead vocalist on a new project.
With Frontiers in-house names such as Daniel Flores and Michael Palace on board, and the press release likening the album to Night Ranger, Bad English, Journey and Starship expectations are high.
And yet the initial impression was that this was another of those studio projects that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. ‘Chance’ is a disappointing opener where the music promises much but the song is rather disjointed with a chorus that falls flat, while the otherwise impressive ‘Listen to Me’ is spoiled by some rather grating, helium-voiced backing vocals on the chorus that overpower Goran’s deeper, richer tones. On ‘When Right is Wrong’ he appears to be straining on a song written for someone with a higher natural register.
However things come together spectacularly on a blissfully melodic ‘Tell it to My Heart’, given a sharper edge by one of many great guitar solos from Michael Palace while ‘Can’t Go On’ has a definite Survivor vibe in the chorus.
Throughout, keyboards are prominent in a manner which will delight traditional AOR purists. Surprisingly though it is seven songs in before not one, but two mid-tempo ballads in ‘Building Towers’ and ‘Hands around my Heart’, both reminding me of cult AOR heroes Signal.
‘Life after Love’ picks up the pace again in anthemic fashion with bouncy keyboards to the fore, then after the slightly progressive feel of ‘Yearn’ offers something different, ‘Tell Me’ concludes the album with a perfect, Scandi-inflected vocal from Goran, but a naggingly familiar melody that I traced to Foreigner’s ‘Say You Will’.
In short, an album that falls short of the classic status of the aforementioned bands, but one of the better albums of the year for fans of old school melodic rock and Goran Edman’s peerless vocals. It just needs persistence to get beyond that odd sequencing with the weakest tracks opening the album.
Review by Andy Nathan
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